Learning to sail can be intimidating. Watching the large boats one can be awed by the number of crewmembers grinding capstans and hiking far over the side of the boat to keep from capsizing. But sailing is not always that complicated. As a beginner, it is best to start with a simple boat. One mast, one sail, and a rudder is all you need. The best boat for beginners is a sabot.
Small and Transportable
Sabots are a small dinghy with a classic design. Similar in appearance to the shoe for which they were named, the sabot is only 8 feet long. But it’s 4-foot beam, or width, makes a roomy cockpit for the new sailor to explore. Sabots are easy to transport, usually weighing less than 100 pounds, and demasted will fit in the back of a truck so no trailer is required.
Sabots Can be Made at Home
Many plans exist for sabots so making one at home is not inconceivable. Home crafted sabots are generally constructed from plywood. Commercial sabots can be made from wood or fiberglass depending on the manufacturer. The design is simple with no large curves or tapers. The sabot is hardly elegant, it is designed for buoyancy and stability on the water. Perfect for a beginner.
Simple to Sail, Perfect for Learning
A sabot comes with a daggerboard serving as the keel and a small sail. The sail is configured in a Bermuda rig, which means the sail is attached to the mast from the top to the bottom and has a standard boom with one mainsheet, or rope. The rudder is attached to a short tiller. With one line and one tiller, sabots can easily be sailed solo. Sabots are large enough for one adult or two children to sail, making them a perfect boat for beginning sailing classes.
If you are looking to learn to sail, the sabot is generally regarded as the best boat in which to learn. Its combination of stability and simplicity is ideal for beginning sailors.